Which DeKalb County school districts benefit most from state pension subsidies?
Sycamore CUSD 427 in Sycamore receives $629 per student from the state to fund pensions for public school teachers and administrators – the most in DeKalb County, according to a Wirepoints analysis of Teacher Retirement System data.
At the bottom, Hiawatha CUSD 426 in Kirkland receives $423 per student.
Wirepoints examined the system in which school districts pay salaries to teachers and administrators, but not pensions, which are funded by state tax dollars.
"It’s a scheme that allows districts to spend more money on salaries and perks than they otherwise would," Wirepoints reported. "Wealthy districts – like those on the North Shore – benefit far more from the state’s pension payments than poor districts do."
Almost 50 percent of what the state pays toward education has gone to teacher pensions in recent years, according to Wirepoints. Bigger pensions in wealthy districts means there’s less money to adequately fund districts with less property wealth.
Sycamore CUSD 427, which relies on the state for 23 percent of its revenue and spends $11,991 per student, ranks 166 out of 848 districts for how much the state provides per student toward pensions.
Hiawatha CUSD 426 relies on the state for 27 percent of its revenue and spends $10,673 per student. It ranks 614th in the state.
DeKalb school districts receiving state-provided pension subsidies
|District||County||City||Average daily attendance||Percent of district revenue provided by the state||EAV (taxable property) per student||District spending per student||State-provided pension subsidy per student*|
|Sycamore CUSD 427||Dekalb||Sycamore||3,582||23%||$120,699||$11,991||$629|
|Indian Creek CUSD 425||Dekalb||Shabbona||663||10%||$228,563||$12,242||$627|
|Hinckley Big Rock CUSD 429||Dekalb||Hinckley||654||11%||$202,879||$13,564||$571|
|DeKalb CUSD 428||Dekalb||DeKalb||5,812||28%||$103,111||$12,896||$563|
|Sandwich CUSD 430||Dekalb||Sandwich||1,930||29%||$132,721||$12,529||$529|
|Genoa Kingston CUSD 424||Dekalb||Genoa||1,670||34%||$98,461||$11,162||$505|
|Somonauk CUSD 432||Dekalb||Somonauk||753||20%||$152,107||$11,027||$469|
|Hiawatha CUSD 426||Dekalb||Kirkland||508||27%||$127,829||$10,673||$423|
*Proxy of the pension subsidy provided to each school district. District subsidy is calculated by taking the TRS employer normal cost in 2017 ($871 million) and multiplying it by each district's share of TRS total employee earnings. To calculate the subsidy per student, each district's share is divided by their average daily attendance.